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Ad burnout - using a new layout?
Which Adsense display brings most revenue
clearvision




msg:1390497
 8:05 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have been using the 728x90 leaderboard at the top of my site for quite some time & think my visitors may be getting "adsense burnout" (judging by click through ratio lately & the fact we are a content site). The recent changes in the adsense program also may play a factor in the decline in click throughs, but wondered what your thoughts are on using the different adsense layouts to increase click through.

Thanks!

 

alika




msg:1390498
 8:20 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

experiment with the other ad formats. use your channel data for example to check out which works well.

we also run a content site, and we found that leaderboard works well for our homepage but not for the articles. we get better CTR for skys, and much much better for large rectangles. we are now changing the leaderboards to either skys or rectangles. but rectangles work so poorly in our glossary pages.

some ad formats work well with for a particular type of page, while some are not. just check it out.

espeed




msg:1390499
 3:30 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

One reason Internet advertising has such low clickthrough rates is that most people naturally skip over anything that looks like an ad. Several weeks ago I was experimenting with using curved borders on my AdSense ads to mitigate the effects from the phenomenon known as banner blindness so that users don't subconsciously glance past them.

Then I read Jakob Nielsen's April 21, 2003 Alertbox column entitled "Will Plain-Text Ads Continue to Rule?". In the section entitled, "From Banner Blindness to Box Blindness?", he says, "users might also develop box blindness, ignoring little text boxes just as they've long ignored banner-shaped areas of the screen." While I had not read this article, this was exactly my theory and motivation for experimenting with curved borders. The curved borders were designed simply to camouflage the ad's rectangular shape so that users don't naturally ignore them.

However, Google sent me e-mail saying that displaying AdSense ads with curved borders violates AdSense policies in that the curved borders draw undue attention to the ads. To comply with Google policies, I changed the format of the ads on the site to match my site's content -- white background, blue links, and no borders. I discovered that displaying ads with no borders (boxes) is actually more effective than displaying ads with curved borders, and both are more effective than boxes. I wrote an article about this concluding that there is merit to Jakob's theory of users eventually developing box blindness.

After I wrote the article, Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini, Jakob's partner at the Nielsen Norman Group, sent me e-mail that said, "Actually, [box blindness] was not a theory, it was the result of a test using eye-tracking to see where people were actually looking."

Jakob is a Google technology advisor, and I'm sure you've noticed that Google switched to boxless ads. The emergence of box-blindness was probably one of the primary reasons Google changed its ad format.

So between Jakob and Tog's eye-tracking study, my experiment, and Google's change to boxless ads, there is strong evidence to suggest that boxless ads are the most effective. You could generalize this to say, "format your ads so that they resemble your content." Keeping the above the fold helps too.

fidibidabah




msg:1390500
 3:31 pm on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Above the fold (unless you have heavy content that runs down a page or two), no boxes if you can get away with it.

And my favorite (for content driven sites), 300x250 inline rectangle. Stuff it right into your content. Works like a charm (of course, less people get to finish your article ;))

annej




msg:1390501
 5:12 pm on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am planning to try this but want to check to be sure it's legal to not have a border. All the rules and regs are a blur to me now.

dillonstars




msg:1390502
 11:49 am on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am planning to try this but want to check to be sure it's legal to not have a border. All the rules and regs are a blur to me now.

Yes it is perfectly fine to display your ads without a border. Any customizations that you can do to the ads within the control panel are legal.

ignatz




msg:1390503
 12:25 pm on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Any way you slice it, trying to disguise an ad as content is in poor taste, and won't work in the long run. To combat "banner blindness" change the location every now and then. Repeat visitors are likely to block ads wherever you put them, so simply try and mix up the layouts.

alika




msg:1390504
 1:02 pm on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

esp if you have a lot of repeat visitors. fool them once, but next time will be harder. we found it helpful to change the position of the ad (ex. sky in left in one page, then right in another) and to change the format (one uses sky, others a rectangle).

annej




msg:1390505
 2:51 pm on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I decided the ads do need some separation. When they are floating in the content text with no border it could be really annoying to readers. I am trying the square and rectange ads floating to the left or right in the upper part of the text using a light colored border. I think the ads might be noticed more there and it leaves the side column for what it was originally intended, to help people find their way around the site. I'm testing how they do using channels.

There are places where no borders might work though. If they aren't embedded in the text they would still have some separation like they do on Google result pages. So I'll experiment on.

annej




msg:1390506
 2:52 pm on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I decided the ads do need some separation. When they are floating in the content text with no border it could be really annoying to readers. I am trying the square and rectange ads floating to the left or right in the upper part of the text using a light colored border. I think the ads might be noticed more there and it leaves the side column for what it was originally intended, to help people find their way around the site. I'm testing how they do using channels.

There are places where no borders might work though. If they aren't embedded in the text they would still have some separation like they do on Google result pages. So I'll experiment on.

annej




msg:1390507
 2:54 pm on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I decided the ads do need some separation. When they are floating in the content text with no border it could be really annoying to readers. I am trying the square and rectange ads floating to the left or right in the upper part of the text using a light colored border. I think the ads might be noticed more there and it leaves the side column for what it was originally intended, to help people find their way around the site. I'm testing how they do using channels.

There are places where no borders might work though. If they aren't embedded in the text they would still have some separation like they do on Google result pages. So I'll experiment on.

yump




msg:1390508
 9:04 pm on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Having a site with loyal visitors and wanting to keep them, we decided the worst thing we could do was disguise the ads, because one click on what a visitor thought was a content link, that turns out to be an ad would very likely irritate them....and many visitors aren't looking closely enough to spot the 'Ads by Google'.

The net is annoying enough people with disguised links - don't want to add to it.

Blending into content so that the ads. don't clash with the site is a different thing entirely.

Feedback from our visitors shows that on the whole they find the ads useful, because its actually adding to their experience, so there's no point in concealing them. They know the site needs advertising revenue. Some actually gave the site extra credibility because Google were doing business with us.

We also found out that quite a few visitors think the ads. only change when they change colour or size!

Of course we know all about it, but the average visitor here in the UK has never heard of Adsense, so they are not likely to know anything about the targeting and the Adwords pool of advertisers.

TampaLou




msg:1390509
 12:02 am on May 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've found that making the AdSense ads stand out prevents them from blending into the background. My approach has been to not try and trick people into tricking the ads, but instead to get them to at least glance at them and perhaps click if they are interested.

I've seen AdSense run in many different ways on various sites, and the ways that seem most effective are the wide skyscrapers and the leaderboard that use complementary colors that match the site and at the same time draw attention to the ads without looking tacky. Leaderboard placement can be tricky, but in some cases I've seen it done well. I recently revamped my personal homepage (approved by Google to have AdSense) and added leaderboard in a way that seems to be working well so far.

espeed




msg:1390510
 1:48 am on May 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

On my site ads appear in a column to the right of my content, and I am not suggesting that you try to trick your users into thinking ads are something they are not. But, eliminating the boxes affects how users subconsciously process ads as they glance at the page.

Internet ads historically have been irrelevant and useless to readers, and because of this, users have trained themselves to ignore anything that looks like an ad. The box blindness study shows that users have begun to associate boxes with ads.

Google is making improvements in its ad serving technology so ads are becoming more relevant and useful to users so ad blindness may become less of an issue, but for now users are less apt to ignore boxless ads even though they consciously know they are ads.

luigi




msg:1390511
 11:44 am on May 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think that guys at Google aren't fool, and if they publish boxed ads in their pages there is some resons for it.
BTW, I think that my site has more "credibility" as soon as it looks like Google.

annej




msg:1390512
 4:31 pm on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well I did a test with a few pages floating the box ad to the left or right near the top within the text. For me it was a disaster so I just put the ads back to the tower in the left column.

I think it must depend a lot on individual sites and the kind of visitors you have. Mine must like to read the article 1st then click on ads or they might look at the left column first and click without reading the article. Whichever it gets more clicks.

I guess we each have to test these things ourselves as results vary so much

cline




msg:1390513
 3:34 pm on May 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

A few years ago I did several A/B tests of text-style banners testing the ads with and without borders. The borderless banners consistently achived statistically significantly higher CTRs.

Sanenet




msg:1390514
 3:45 pm on May 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've found that making the AdSense ads stand out prevents them from blending into the background.
A logical conclusion. Chuckle!

From my experience I find that there are two main ways of acheiving sustainable CTR on ads, and each depends on your site:

1.- High % of return visitors (high content sites such as news, etc). Make the ads complementary to your article - they change, but it's obvious that they are ads for products related to the article.

2.- One glance, never to return visitors (site without the sticky factor): Make the ads as much like other links as possible, encouraging people to click on them to see where they go.

The whole point behind the ads is MOTIVATION - if the user thinks that the link is useful, they will click. If it's an irrelevant, flashing, bells 'n' whistles ad, they ignore, muttering imprecations under their breath.

Sharky




msg:1390515
 7:51 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Has anyone tried using DHTML effects on AdSense ads -- things like putting the ads in a dismissable overlay, or using animations, "jiggles", etc.?

I've been thinking about using absolute positioning and JavaScript to keep a leaderboard always visible at the top of the page (even after scrolling), but haven't gotten around to trying it yet.

cline




msg:1390516
 6:44 pm on Jun 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Related thread in the Adwords forum [webmasterworld.com].

flyer727




msg:1390517
 8:26 pm on Jun 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

>However, Google sent me e-mail saying that displaying AdSense ads with curved borders violates AdSense policies in that the curved borders draw undue attention to the ads.

Undue attention? Wouldn't want people seeing the ads, would we? Wouldn't using an eye-catching background color (like yellow) for the ads do the same thing?

Maybe you could put the ads at the bottom of the page, with 50 BR tags right above them, so they won't draw attention.

howiejs




msg:1390518
 3:26 am on Jun 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting thread
I have also read that "blending" the ads in the content is best for CTR . ..

I have been testing nasty bright red text in the ads -- seems to be working (and it if one thing pops off the page) -- catches the users eye and since the ads are really on target they are interested and click

TonysDesigns




msg:1390519
 3:11 am on Jun 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

>However, Google sent me e-mail saying that displaying AdSense ads with curved borders violates AdSense policies in that the curved borders draw undue attention to the ads.
Undue attention? Wouldn't want people seeing the ads, would we? Wouldn't using an eye-catching background color (like yellow) for the ads do the same thing?

Maybe you could put the ads at the bottom of the page, with 50 BR tags right above them, so they won't draw attention.

I have often and often and often thought of this same thing. w tf! I have thought of some super curious ways up putting G ads up in some special way.

Doesn't G want people to be drawn to the ads? I would surely think so. I beleive that making them YELLOW or HOT PINK or RED does exactly the same thing.

clearvision




msg:1390520
 7:28 pm on Jun 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks so much for all your help...truly appreciated!

I have since changed the location ( moved from top of page to center of articles) and table color/dimensions ( no borders, slight color difference from the background so it is visible, but doesn't SCREAM advertisement). This increased my click through rate and this months income by 85%! Let me tell you.... I am a happy camper! :)

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